Just Watch It Already
The Cabin in the Woods - Lionsgate - Blu-ray and DVD
Release Date: Apr 13, 2012
Director: Drew Goddard
Cast: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison,Fran Kranz, Richard Jenkins. Full cast + crew
People who don't already know what they're in for seem to have a hard time wrapping their head around The Cabin in the Woods. Not that it's a complicated film, rather that horror movies that are very funny tend to get a strange reaction, as though people aren't sure if they're supposed to be laughing or not. So let's be clear: The Cabin in the Woods is a comedy. It is also a horror movie. And the way it's all so brilliantly put together by cowriters Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, it really couldn't be one without the other.
This is a smart, funny deconstruction of an entire genre niche of films, but you don't have to be a horror expert to get it. You just have to sit down, break out the popcorn, and enjoy a very clever twist on some very familiar movies. If you can do that, you'll have a ton of fun.
Special Features: Commentary with Goddard and Whedon; a 28-minute featurette focused on Goddard and Whedon's process; a 13-minute featurette on production design; a breakdown of the film's VFX and monster creation; a 27-minute Q&A from Wonder-Con
I am a sucker for killer-shark movies. To call them a guilty pleasure would be a lie simply because there's no guilt involved. So imagine my interest in Bait 3D, an Australian movie about a tsunami that traps a bunch of people in a flooded grocery story that also happens to have a great white shark in it. That's a helluva premise for fans of toothy creature features. Unfortunately the movie isn't quite as amazing as that potential, but it's got some grand production design and scale that elevates it above your run-of-the-mill Syfy channel movie.
Then there's The Babymakers, the latest from director Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers). As with Bait, the film, about a recently infertile man who has to break into a sperm bank to steal his own sperm, is a bit of a disappoint given the potential involved, but if you're a fan of the tone of the Broken Lizard team's films in general (though this is technically not a Broken Lizard production), you'll get more than a few laughs out of it. And who knows, maybe like Beerfest or The Slammin' Salmon, it'll only get better with repeat viewings.
Next up we have the awkwardly titled Katy Perry The Movie: Part of Me, which is a documentary about the pop star's career and personal life. And as someone who is largely indifferent to the singer in general, it's acutally not a bad little film. Sure, it's essentially just propaganda to sell more albums and concert tickets, but it does do a good job of showing how entire mini-industries emerge around singers once they hit pop-star status.
After that, the week of new releases rounds out with quite a few odd titles. Hysteria and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are both comedies geared toward the older crowd, but don't let that dissuade you from checking them out. Then there's the indie comedy The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3 (yes, 3), the action flick Brawler, Michael Biehn's grungy directorial debut The Victim, and Japanese director Sion Sono's epic (at least in its 237-minute runtime) Love Exposure, which I haven't seen but have heard nothing but rave reviews of.
You. Need. This.
Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures - Paramount - Blu-ray
This is simple math, really. If you like Indiana Jones and you have a Blu-ray player, you need to own The Complete Adventures, which features all four of Steven Spielberg's films together on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Slag off Kingdom of the Crystal Skull if you must, but even it doesn't tarnish the loving care that has been put into restoring one of the most beloved film franchises for Blu-ray. The video and audio quality here is just utterly sublime. These movies, particularly Raiders of the Lost Ark, have undergone massive, but respectful, face-lifts on their way to HD for the first time, and the wait was very, very worth it.
Each film comes with its own bevy of special features, and while most of those were previously available on DVD, there are some vintage press materials for Raiders that are hitting home video for the first time ever. Additionally, a new, multipart retrospective on the franchise was produced just for this disc, and it is indeed an elaborate and detailed trip down memory lane for cast, crew and fans alike.
Basically, this is as fine a Blu-ray debut for the Indiana Jones franchise as one could hope for. There's no reason not to have it in your collection.
One could easily argue that there's never been a better marriage of director and biopic material than Tim Burton and Ed Wood. His Oscar-nominated film about the life of notorious bad-movie director Ed Wood Jr. hits Blu-ray for the first time this week, and if you've never seen it, now is the perfect opportunity to pick it up. It's a truly wonderful film about the not-so-golden age of Hollywood and the men and women who tried to make a living by making movies nobody else wanted to. Even if you don't know a thing about Ed Wood, or you've grown tired of Tim Burton's style lately, give this a shot.
And from a great movie about a man who made some very bad movies many years ago, we've got a few duds from not that long ago to look at. Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd is certainly worth a watch for anyone in need of a mid-'90s nostalgia fix, but it is by no stretch of the imagination a good movie. This is a poster child for a blockbuster movie designed by a Hollywood committee. It's loud, it's lame, and it's so very, very, very '90s despite taking place in the future. Then there's Queen of the Damned, a movie that's almost as baffling to watch in the year 2012 as Judge Dredd. It's hard to understand why anyone gave a greenlight to this modern rock-loving twist on Anne Rice's world of vampires. Its lead isn't very sexy, its story is laughable, its take on vampires is just plain goofy, and for only being a decade old, it has not aged well. But, hey, if you've got a fondness for this sister film to Interview with the Vampire, do know that it at least looks dynamite on Blu-ray.
Getting back into better filmmaking territory, this week also sees the release of The Devil's Advocate, which is a fun movie about the perils and dubious morality of being a cutthroat lawyer. It's got a fine cast (yes, even Keanu Reeves fits his part), some slick direction, and a wry sense of humor. It's joined by the Criterion Collection treatment of David Fincher's The Game, another fine '90s thriller about rich white men doing crazy things in their own corporate worlds.
And the week rounds out with five Blu-rays of some older horror films. Halloween II and Halloween III have both received some decent disc love thanks to Shout Factory, while Mario Bava gets some love from Kino Lorber with a trio of films restored for Blu-ray.